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Tales from today's peleton: detection-free doping(5 posts)

Tales from today's peleton: detection-free dopingphilippec
Jan 22, 2004 2:48 AM

Some of you may be aware of the latest emerging doping scandal in the peleton through the recent arraignment of Cofidis'polish soigneur and several riders and ex-riders. What is interesting w/ this investigation is that the judge had several people in the peleton (including many non-Cofidis riders) put under phone surveillance. In today's "Le Point" magazine, some of the details of the investigation and results of the phonbe taps were leaked and published.

It seems the latest fad is to mix EPO use w/ heavy trasfusions that mask the presence of EPO and dillute the hematocrit to just a hair under 50%. People have been hired to donate blood during major races and in particular, during the Tour. Family members in particular were sought out b/c of the probability of having the same blood type and the fact that they could be counted on to keep quiet. many of the phone discussions revealed that the major focus of the riders and their suppliers was to get their hematocrit just up to the high 40s and maintain it there during the course of the major stage races. Also revealed was the continued use of cortisones often under medical prescription (one phone discussion between a rider and his supplier revealed that the rider felt confident he could get a Kenakort -- a powerful cortisone -- prescription by telling his doctor he had "boutons sur les testicules" -- I'll let you guys do the translation!)

In any case, as if we needed to be reminded, doping is still around and is getting more and more sophisticated. So, here's a question for all the doctors and pharmaceutical types, what drugs are going to be the choice of the peleton this year? HGH (well, the article alluded that it is at least as widely used in the peleton as it is among members of the actors screen guild in southern CA!), that calf blood product (actigen?) dropped off in a wayside rubbish bin during the 2001 TDF, any other promising new cancer/heart condition drugs?

I'm not happy about it but I am resigned to the fact that many of the riders that I go cheer at the races are on . Oh well, I got over the fact that there is no Father Christmas....

Philippe (in rainy Paris)
look on the bright side of lifecyclopathic
Jan 22, 2004 6:49 AM
it's raining but at least it isn't as cold and windy :)

not to comment on drugs, just out of curiosity.. is EPO much more effective then altitude tents?
I believe the answer to that question is...Dwayne Barry
Jan 22, 2004 9:13 AM
yes. Australian Institue of Sport I believe has done some work in this area. A search on Pubmed would probably turn of some studies.
Questions about French legal investigations . . .ms
Jan 22, 2004 8:54 AM
I am assuming that the "judge" who is doing the investigation is more akin to a prosecutor than a "judge" in a common law country. In order to place phone taps, detain witnesses (e.g., Cedric Vasseur, Philippe Gaumont) and the like, does the judge have to have probable cause or approval from an independent source, or can the judge act wholly on his own? Is this a new investigation, or a continuation of the investigations that began in 1998? Is the judge French cycling's equivalent of Ken Starr or a more neutral character?

I guess in the final analysis, even if the judge is a Ken Starr on a witch hunt, he is finding the goods.

Now, with respect to that Father Christmas stuff -- you probably should not be spreading things that you read in the French press to us Anglophones who would be unaware of them without your help. My realization that there was no Santa Claus was confirmed when (at a very late age) I confronted my mother with the fact that I had seen my father placing "Santa's" presents under the tree. Her immediate response: "Don't tell your [younger] sister or you never will get another present."
wait a second Ken Starr IS the judgecyclopathic
Jan 22, 2004 12:34 PM
sorry about Santa life is life